Speak out and stay fit

Maureen Wales
Maureen Wales

EMBARRASSED and shy men were the subject of a campaign which encouraged them to put aside their worries for the sake of their health.

The advice came from staff at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust who appealed to men to talk to a health professional if they were having serious health problems.

Dyuring Mens Health Week, the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust encouraged male staff and visitors to speak to health experts about issues they may be too shy or embarrassed to talk about.

The message went out at both the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, Information stalls were based at both hospital sites over the course of the week.

The Men’s Health Forum charity, who organised the event, put the focus this year on mental health with the slogan: ‘You only live once so talk to someone’.

Leaflets containing advice and contact details for help were available.

The trust’s health and wellbeing advisor Maureen Wales said: “Men often find it more difficult than women to speak to their GP about a health issue they may find embarrassing.

“The week was all about getting the message out that men shouldn’t feel embarrassed at all. They should feel that they can go to a health professional and speak to them about any health-related problem.

“For many men, feeling down is a bigger taboo than pretty much anything else.

“But mental illness is not something anyone should feel ashamed to talk about. Statistics show men and women experience mental health in roughly equal numbers, yet far fewer men are treated for it. It’s clear that men aren’t talking enough about it.

“Men should tell their GP or a health professional about their problems and not bottle it up. It helps to talk and get advice and help from experts.

“Information was available throughout the course of the week for people to look at and take away with them. We did not have any staff manning the stand as we feel with issues like this it is very important for people to know that it is confidential. People were free to come and pick up some information whenever they wanted throughout the course of the week. Events like this are so important so we can raise awareness and get the message out to as many people as possible.”

According to the Men’s Health Forum, three out of every four suicides are by men and 73 per cent of people who go missing are men.

Annually, 4,500 UK men take their own life.